BRADENTON BEACH, Florida -- After petitions and rallies across the country urged authorities to re-open the death investigation of a 22-year-old woman, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement says it will be appointing a panel of 15-20 experts to look into the case.
The news came on the day that would have marked Sheena Morris' 26th birthday. In 2009, she was found hanging in a hotel room shower stall, hours after a fight with her fiance.
Based on its investigation, the Bradenton Beach Police Department declared it a suicide and closed the case.
There were no fingerprints found around the scene, and that raised questions from Morris' family. After they paid to have a second autopsy performed, her cause of death was changed to undetermined.
When FDLE announced Wednesday that it would send a team to find new information, Morris' mother, Kelly Osborn, says she found out about the development not from authorities, but through the news.
"It feels like a victory - that finally, people are hearing what's been going on," she says. "It's been three and a half years, so not only grieving the death and the loss of my daughter, but I've had to fight this and spend thousands of dollars and constant fighting and giving up my career. How is that fair?"
The Bradenton Beach Police Department says it looks forward to getting assistance from the state.
"I welcome it," says Police Chief Sam Speciale. "I continue to believe we did everything we could for this case. And I can't as a law enforcement officer, especially as the Chief of Police, deal with emotion and opinions. I have to deal with fact."
Photos of Morris fill her mother's living room, alongside case files and a day-by-day timeline of what happened. Osborn quit her job and moved to Florida so she could work full-time on getting authorities to re-open the case.
"I was supposed to be showing her single-family homes to lease," Osborn says. "She had all these future plans."
FDLE says the expert panel will be sent to Bradenton Beach later this month to review forensic evidence, photos, and statements. They'll try to gather new information, and report their findings to the Bradenton Beach Police Department.